SAVANNAH, Ga. – District offices became a proxy classroom for more than 40 dependents of employees who explored Corps projects and careers during the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day held May 1.
Facilitators guided participants through age-appropriate breakout sessions where students discovered the district’s expansive footprint on public works projects throughout the Southeast.
Facility tours introduced students to a bounty of professions highlighting sought-after careers in the engineering and scientific fields. Participants also tapped into large-scale efforts such as the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, dam operations, wetlands restoration projects and other initiatives during the four-hour event.
District Commander Col. Tom Tickner endorsed the event to offer youth a glimpse of the Corps’ day-to-day operations, he said.
“It’s a great way to give family members an understanding of how the Corps helps to sustain the nation’s environmental and economic vitality,” he said. “It’s also an opportunity to make an impression on emerging talent that we want to attract in the future.”
Aspiring entrepreneur and video game designer JaDante Hendrick, 14, an honor student at Woodville Tompkins Technical and Career High School, took part in the day’s events.
“I enjoyed the engineering design session because we got to use Legos and our architectural skills to build sturdy structures,” said Hendrick, grandson of Liller Kirksey, a Corps Safety Office member.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Office paired with this year’s Leadership Development Program II Class to host the nationally-recognized career day event.
Organizers reintroduced the TODS program here in 2014 as an outreach program tailored for youth ages 8-14. The Corps promotes the day in conjunction with STEM outreach objectives and to expose children and teens to their caretakers’ work environment, said Suellen Yates, Equal Employment Opportunity manager.
“This annual event was founded to create an opportunity for youth to share and communicate their expectations for the future,” she said. “Parents are natural mentors to their children and are in the best position to have a lasting influence by allowing their children to see what they do during the day.”
This year’s theme, “#MPOWR Knowledge + Choice = Strength,” uses trendy messaging to empower students to make critical choices about their careers, said Yates.
“We want to give students a light picture of what the Corps does,” she said. “It’s important to convey what we do behind the scenes and the unexpected things the Corps does that kids may be unaware of.”
This year’s participation more than doubled last year’s turn-out, said Yates.
The program, celebrating its 22nd year nationally, encourages youth across the country to dream without gender limitations and to think imaginatively about their family, work and community lives. This national, public education program connects what children learn at school with the actual working world, according to the website